by: Bill Cross [ ]
Trumpeter has become a force in 1/32nd scale aircraft, releasing a wide range of planes from early WW II all the way up to the second generation Harriers flown by the US Marines. Just as it has released 1/35th scale weapons packs for its armor and figure series, the company is now releasing two sets of weapons sets for modern US aircraft in 1/32nd scale: air-to-air missiles and a separate set of bombs. Whether the sets are designed to up-gun Trumpeter kits or enhance other makers’ offerings, they are a welcome addition, since all too often kit manufacturers skimp on the details when it comes to the armaments.
The set includes
10 sprues of light gray plastic
1 sheet of stenciling decals
Painting & marking guide sheet
4 page instruction booklet
The mix has a nice selection of current and previous weapons, including :
MER and TER weapons racks (2 each).
The bombs cover a range of possibilities:
The 1,000 pound Mark 83, the workhorse of the navy’s dumb bombs (the configuration shown is for the older version and not today’s gray-finned one).
The M117 750 pounder that goes back to the Korean War, and has been mounted on the F-100 Super Sabre, F-104 Starfighter, F-105 Thunderchief, F-111, and F-4 Phantom. Today it’s only used in B-52s.
The BSU-49 is really a 500 pound Mark 82 bomb affixed with the Ballute air-inflated Bomb Retarding System to slow it down for greater precision. Bomb manufacturers discovered they could improve the accuracy of “dumb” munitions by affixing sophisticated controls to the tails.
The Mark 20 “Rockeye II” antitank cluster bomb with 247 shaped-charge bomblets inside. First produced in 1967, it weighed around 500 pounds, and was designed to blitz a group of tanks without having to hit any one target by exploding an array of deadly smaller charges over a large surface simultaneously. While intended for tanks, the bombs are devastating to concentrations of other vehicles or infantry.
And last but not least, the bunker-busting 2,000 pound MK84.
Included are small and long racks for mounting these weapons.
The molding is overall crisp, and the fit on the two halves of the bombs is generally good with only minimal filling and sanding. A sharp tool for rescribing panel lines damaged by the process is also handy. The instructions for assembling the bomb racks are a little ambiguous, so pay attention to the mounting of the pads on the frames, as they can be assembled upside down if you’re not careful.
decals & painting
The painting guide has colors called out from five manufacturers, including Tamiya, a plus over other manufacturers. We’re talking olive drab, white and gray here for the most part, so the color-matching shouldn’t tax anyone. Still, it’s nice to have colors I can actually purchase at my local hobby shop and not have to order from the UK or Asia.
An attractive feature about the set is the generous sheet of stenciling decals. The selection is broad enough to cover a wide range of years (mid-90s to the present), and unlike the missile package, you can really “load up” a plane with ordnance. As with the missile set, the bombs themselves aren’t very complex in the building and could use a little added PE. Consider it an opportunity for finer detailing lost. That having been said, the intricate stenciling decals go a long way to making the set an attention-grabbing addition to any build in this size. When you’re dealing with 1/32nd scale, you need all the various markings, warnings and codes that bring these weapons to life. Too often manufacturers leave out the stenciling as if you could get away without these markings in this large scale, so I’m pleased Trumpeter didn’t scrimp on the details.
Unfortunately, they made a significant “goof” in the decal execution that will annoy consumers to no end: the majority of these bombs have 1-3 yellow rings around their snouts; Trumpeter includes a single yellow ring on the decal sheet, but clearly no one at the factory ever used the decals, because the rings are straight and the bomb noses are tapered—the result is a ring that doesn’t fit right. The decals won’t go on properly, and thus the yellow rings will have to be painted-on. While not fatal, it’s the kind of error that could easily have been avoided, making this an almost perfect offering.
It’s said you can’t be too rich or too thin, and I think you can’t really be too well-armed either, at least not in wartime. This set and its companion should be a delight to builders of 1/32nd scale US jets.